When neck pain strikes
I recently developed a very painful and stiff neck needing 2 days off work. A rarity. It took over a week to get better and back to being able to turn my neck around. There is nothing like pain to focus the mind. Here are a couple of suggestions you mind find useful to manage neck pain:
Do get a diagnosis
I was pretty sure my neck pain was muscular as I had read in bed with my neck at an awkward angle the night before. BUT neck stiffness and pain can be the sign of something serious such as infection or heart problems. One of the signs of meningitis is a stiff neck. If you or someone you know is feeling unwell, has a fever and a stiff neck seek medical advice ASAP. The most common cause of a sore neck is muscle spasm or whiplash if you have been involved in a car accident. So if you are not sure what it is do get a diagnosis.
Treat it early
Once you have a diagnosis get appropriate treatment earlier rather than later. You don’t want the pain to become chronic if possible. In my case it was a trip to the doctor who prescribed medication and suggested manual therapy which was the mainstay of my treatment.
Develop a support team
I tried several different treatment modalities to get back to form. Acupuncture and massage were the most useful for me. For others it may be physiotherapy or chiropractic or myotherapy. Find health practitioners you are comfortable with and who care. It really makes a difference.
Heat packs and tiger balm helped when the pain was at its worst. I also increased my intake of magnesium to help muscle relaxation. Gentle stretching exercises are helpful after the intensity of the pain wears off.
Muscle Energy Therapy
This simple and effective treatment was used by my GP. The basic principle is that the contracting and stretching of muscle leads to automatic relaxation of agonist and antagonist muscles. By pushing your head in rotation against resistance for several seconds and then allowing the neck to relax and be moved passively to the opposite side reduces muscle spasm and increases range of motion. Professor John Murtagh has a useful handout on this treatment that can be found at: